FLIR has added active stabilization to its $74,999 Voyager camera, but what's truly noteworthy is its integrated use of dual thermal cameras. Each has only 320x240 pixels of resolution and lacks optical zoom—typical for thermal cams of this class, most of which are FLIR-built anyway—but one has a 20-degree wide angle, while the other has a five-degree view, equivalent to a 140mm camera lens. The Voyager not only flips from camera to camera in normal multicam fashion but also scales and superimposes the distant detailed thermal image onto the center of the wide-angle one. The techs call the result "foveal vision" because it's close to what the human eye does (i.e. sharp focus on center with ample, if fuzzy, peripheral vision for deciding what should be in focus). I've seen the feature live three times now in difficult nighttime busy-port conditions, and I think it's fantastic. The FLIR demo cruises have helped educate a lot of us about general thermal abilities—yes, fishermen, you can see surface temperature breaks, but only when unobstructed by reflection—and the thermal company's ever-improving line of marine cameras.
This article originally appeared in the May 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.